by Charles Owens on 04/28/2013
The two-stroke engine revved loudly and proudly in the Moto events at the first X-Games of the year.
From the traditional crowd-pleasing Freestyle competition to the normally four-stroke dominated Step-Up event, it was all about the Reed Valve in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.
The course was vast and wide, the crowds were vibrant and the rookies of the event really gave the old guards a run for their money.
Twitter users played judge and jury in this exciting event as viewers tweeted the surname of the rider they thought had the best whip.
Edgar Torronteras and Taka Higashino led the charge on their two-stroke bikes, leaning over for some seriously extended maneuvers.
Donning a Suzuki four-stroke and an all-yellow kit, Jeremy Stenberg showed consistency and speed with Josh Hansen right behind.
The tweets poured in and the jury was out – last year’s winner Jeremy ‘Twitch’ Stenberg made it two in a row with 45% of the votes.
Crowd favorote Edgar Torronteras took second on the two-stroke with 30% and Josh Hansen took home a bronze medal with 17%.
An age-old high-jump contest. The rules are simple: clear the bar in one of your two attempts and ride it out. You can make contact with the bar, as long as it stays up when you go down.
This year’s event was almost over before it began – compared to the showdown of last year – but it wasn’t without some flair and controversy.
Starting at 23 feet up, Czechlovakian two-stroke rider Libor Podmol cleared the bar with ease.
Ronnie Renner, who won the neck-and-neck battle in 2012, followed suit.
Supercross bad boy Josh Hansen competed in the mix and wasted no time trying to get under the skin of Renner. The suspended AMA rider taunted Renner like a matador, leaping off his bike and running at him.
Not having a bar of it, Renner returned fire by careering right into the side of Josh Hansen. The two looked as if they were about to come to blows before they were separated by games officials.
X-Games rookie Bryce Hudson defeated Ronnie Renner to win the event ahead of Libor Podmol, who finished third on his two-stroke machine.
Speed & Style
Traditional freestyle meets motocross racing in this relatively new, unique event. You’ve got to have a good bag of tricks to your name, but you need to get around the course faster than the other guy as well.
The event had a truly international mix of riders from all corners of the world, on two-strokes and four.
Following the seeding rounds, it was down to Libor Podmol and Matt Rebaud in a match for the bronze.
Podmol had a sketchy start, gave his all but couldn’t quite catch Swiss rider Matt Rebaud.
In the gold run, Andre Villa was inches away from taking Lance Coury on the corner after the whoops section but didn’t quite make the turn quick enough.
Trying again in the third lap, Villa shot through for the lead but took it a bit far and hit the makeshift Jersey barriers on the side of the course, leaving Lance Coury in the fast lane to take first place.
The more things change, the more they stay the same – an adage affirmed every year in this hard-hitting X-Games moto event.
The rules are basic: ride whatever you want and do whatever you want, but convince the judges you can do it better across three rounds than the other men you’re up against.
As they have in many past X-Games, the revered Metal Mulisha invaded the event in full force on their pre-mix weapons of fury and destruction.
Taka Higashino – a former member of the Mulisha – rode hard early on and showed the audience why he won the event last time around in Los Angeles.
X-Games front flip pioneer and Metal Mulisha rider Jackson ‘Jacko’ Strong crashed in his first run, breaking a bone in his ankle before being stretchered from the course.
The Australian later tweeted that he was “ … beat up but otherwise OK.”
Unfazed by his friend’s nasty accident, Taka Higashino rode out and hit his second score in the 90s to win the gold medal.
His seat-grab variations, including letting go of the tail end of the bike while inverted in a back-flip, were too much for everybody else.
Rob Adelberg, another Australian in the Metal Mulisha, blasted his way to second place while Californian Wes Agee’s eye-popping extensions earned him a well-deserved third.
A rough-and-tumble race across a series of obstacles including air, wood, rocks and water.
Maria Forsberg, riding her ’1? numbered KTM hopped over the log barrier with ease and took off out in front, only to get stuck at the bottom of the rocks around the corner.
Forsberg and Tarah Geiger fought it out as the bunch widened and Laia Sanz gained a convincing lead.
Sanz went home with the gold, ahead of Maria Forsberg (2nd) and Tarah Gieger (3rd).
In the men’s race, Cody Webb went in on his Beta 300RR two-stroke, staying in second behind Taddy Blazusiak on the KTM.
Dropping the shoulder as he passed, Webb nipped by Blazusiak for the lead in the third lap, only to fall behind him on the rock section.
The water hazard not only served as just another of the obstacles, but it helped deteriorate the condition of the track as the race went on.
They jostled and battled throughout the contest, but Polish rider Taddy Blazusiak walked away on top.
Two-stroke competitor Cody Webb took second and David Knight grasped the bronze.
Barcelona will be the next of four cities to host a Summer X-Games this year. Join us here at Twostrokemotocross.com in mid-May as the games continue.
By TSM Editor Paul Savage @PaulSavageNZ